I was surprised to read about a British "art" project that's supposed to mobilize social opinion against "knife crime". You can read about it here, but the video below is probably more enlightening. (George R. R. Martin or HBO might be justified in suing them for copyright infringement, but clearly the artist(s) think that social progress is more important than mere commercial considerations.)
The real problem, of course, is that, just as with gun control, those agitating against "knife crime" in Britain are completely misguided. They're focusing on the instrument, not the person(s) wielding it. This campaign is utterly pointless (you should pardon the expression). Consider:
- In a case of drunk driving, we charge the driver, not his vehicle.
- In a case of arson, we charge the arsonist, not the fuel and/or ignition source he used.
- In a case of medical malpractice, we charge the doctor(s) and/or nurse(s) concerned, not the medical instruments and/or appliances they used.
- In a burglary, we charge the burglar, not the tools he used to break and enter property.
- In knife crime, we charge the person using the knife, not the knife itself.
In every case, the instrument(s) is/are not at fault, not responsible. They have no ethical standards or moral volition of their own. They're simply tools, things. One might as well blame a hammer if one wields it inexpertly, and hits one's thumb instead of the head of the nail. Guess what? Your thumb will still hurt just as much, and you'll add being a dumbass to being a poor handyman.
There's a reason for the old proverb: "A bad workman always blames his tools". It's because, from time immemorial, that excuse has been used by those who either can't, or won't, do anything effective to solve a problem. Whether that problem is to build a piece of furniture, or discourage the use of knives by criminals, the result is all too often the same - adopting an ineffective approach, then when it fails, blaming anything (and/or anyone) except adopting an ineffective approach. You want to stop knife crime? Pointless "art" displays of an ethically and morally guiltless instrument won't do it. Neither will banning the carrying of knives in public. (Remember how well Prohibition worked [NOT!], and how well the current War On Drugs has worked [NOT!]?)
No. If you want to stop knife crime, make it so costly to the criminal that others will learn from his/her example, and not emulate it. This might be one time when an Islamic standard of punishment actually has a meaningful application in a non-Islamic society. Why not cut off the hand, or the fingers, of anyone using a knife to injure someone during the commission of a crime? Do it in public, without anesthetic, and let people hear them scream. I guaran-damn-tee you, it'll have an instant and very chilling effect on other criminals. It'll certainly be a lot more effective than slapping them on the wrist in court, and giving them a few months or years in a cushy prison where they can learn from their peers to be better criminals! (A similar approach might be a more effective deterrent to "gun crime". Use a gun in the commission of a crime? Get shot with that same gun, or a similar one, in exactly the same body part[s] where you shot your victims. If that means you won't survive . . . well, you shouldn't have started it, should you?)
Does that shock you? Do you think it's heartless, even barbaric? Then make up your mind about your priorities. Do you really, truly, genuinely want to reduce knife crime? Then name an alternative that will be as effective as that punishment in achieving that objective. Go on. The ball's in your court. Return it.
Fortunately, I and many of my readers live in a country where we can still respond to a knife-wielding criminal with something more effective than a strong word and a pointless, useless law.